Angry Australians have criticised at Scott Morrison for holding a press conference on his religious freedom bill instead of giving more attention to the bushfire crisis that has seen Sydney smothered in smoke today.

Mr Morrison released the second version of the religious freedom bill this morning and held a press conference to announce the 11 major changes that have been made to the draft legislation.

The second version of the draft comes as Sydney experiences horrific smoky conditions from massive bushfires burning on the city's outskirts, with some areas reaching 11 times hazardous levels.

Sydney Opera House today as the bushfires in NSW continue. Photo / Getty Images
Sydney Opera House today as the bushfires in NSW continue. Photo / Getty Images

The Prime Minister held a press conference in a Sydney skyscraper on Tuesday with smoke obscuring the harbour views, in which he praised the efforts of volunteers battling blazes across the country.


"I was speaking with the (NSW RFS) commissioner on the weekend out at Wilberforce — where we have the megafire out in the northwest at the moment — we were talking through the crew rotations and the fact is that these crews, yes they're tired, but they also want to be out there defending their communities," he told reporters.

"We do all we can to rotate the shifts to give them those breaks but equally, in many cases, you've got to hold them back to make sure they get that rest. I thank them all for what they're doing."

But some on social media criticised him for later choosing to focus on the religious freedom bill.

"Scott Morrison thinks it's more important to discuss a religious freedom bill while NSW burns to the ground," one Twitter user said.

"@ScottMorrisonMP the country is literally on fire; nobody cares about the religious freedom bill right now. Stop being so cooked all the time," another said.

One person wrote: "While the nation roasts and burns @ScottMorrisonMP holds a press conference to discuss … 'religious freedom' laws. No mention whatsoever of months of fires, smoke, health concerns, loss of life, destruction of 700 homes. What the bloody hell is wrong with this bloke?"

Another simply added: "Excuse me @ScottMorrisonMP I can't breathe."

When asked about the bushfires today Mr Morrison said defence force personnel were helping with airlifts, surveillance and clearing areas.


"They are doing their job, the firefighters are doing their job," he said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have called for a national approach to fighting and preventing bushfires. But Mr Morrison says there is already a nationally coordinated effort.

"The highly coordinated nature of how our state and territory jurisdictions work together during these bushfires has been an inspiration," he said.

Scott Morrison has been targeted by furious Australians over his handling of the bushfire crisis. Photo / AP
Scott Morrison has been targeted by furious Australians over his handling of the bushfire crisis. Photo / AP

Mr Morrison has also been called out for his response in the wake of the deadly volcanic eruption in New Zealand.

At least three Australians are thought to have been killed when the White Island volcano erupted on Monday afternoon, with more still missing.

Mr Morrison held a press conference this morning and offered his support to New Zealand on Twitter.

"I have been in touch with @jacindaardern to offer our full support with whatever they need and our authorities are working closely together," he wrote.

"I will be staying in direct contact as events continue to unfold. We will provide updates once they are confirmed and are available."

However the Prime Minister was again attacked on social media, because some thought he should be offering that level of support to those battling the bushfires.

"You have the greatest tragedy occurring under your nose, loss of property, natural habitat & whole animal species decimated & you have the gall to be commenting about what's going on in New Zealand? Where is your sense of urgency empathy and leadership at home? Disgusting!" one Twitter user said.

"Okay. So about you now concentrate on our disaster? Talk to the experts, listen to them, do as they suggest. Just like NZ is listening to the experts. Show that those empathy lessons worked and talk to victims of the fire. Give fire services what they need," another said.